What level of respect should the world display during a dead dictator’s memorial?
That was the challenge faced by the United Nations this week when North Korea publicly mourned its late leader Kim Jong-il on Wednesday. AsiaOne.com reported Wednesday that the U.N. lowered flags at its New York City and Geneva offices to half-mast during Kim's funeral procession. It's a common courtesy, Choi Soung-ah, U.N. spokeswoman for the Secretary-Genera, told AsiaOne, following the death of any member nation's leader.
"The Secretary-General has learned that the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong-il, has passed away," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a Dec. 19 statement following Kim's heart attack. "The Secretary-General extends his sympathy to the people of DPRK at this time of their national mourning. The United Nations system will continue to help the people of the DPRK." more >>
In his message for World Peace Day 2012, Pope Benedict XVI re-asserted his fight against moral relativism, which he has previously blamed for Britain’s summer riots.
In his new message for the upcoming World Peace Day, to be marked Jan. 1, Pope Benedict focused his attention on the youth, urging them to observe their morals and work for the common good of society.
“Today, a particularly insidious obstacle to the task of educating is the massive presence in our society and culture of that relativism which, recognizing nothing as definitive leaves as the ultimate criterion only the self with its desires,” Pope Benedict said in his message Thursday, as reported by Vatican Radio. more >>
Pope Benedict XVI focused his annual Christmas morning message on "reconciliation and peace," especially in Syria, North Africa, and the Middle East.
The pontiff spoke on the main balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica Sunday morning to deliver his “Urbi et Orbi,” Latin for “to the city and to the world” speech to thousands of tourists and pilgrims.
“May the Lord come to the aid of our world torn by so many conflicts which even today stain the Earth with blood,” Benedict told the crowd. more >>
Syria has finally signed a peace treaty that the global community is hoping will end the violence many believed could lead to a civil war.
On Monday, Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Moallem told the press: “They advised us to sign the protocol and we followed their advice.”
It is unclear whose advice Moallem is citing, with the United States, NATO allies, and most recently, Russia all urging the Syrian government to sign the proposal. more >>
The death of longtime North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, 69, has the world on-the-edge, wondering how his successor will run the country and how his death will affect countries in Asia. There are not many answers to those questions yet, but responses to the North Korean leader’s death are pouring in.
The foreign ministers of both France and Australia said that the death of Kim Jong-il could serve as a sign of hope in the country that suffers from chronic food shortages, poor infrastructure, and frequent power outages.
“It is at times like this that we cannot afford to have any wrong or ambiguous signaling. This time also presents an important opportunity to the new North Korean leadership to engage fully with the international community,” said Australia’s Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd. more >>
The National Council of Churches recently held a meeting with Cuban church leaders and pledged to work for better relations between the two countries.
General Secretary Michael Kinnamon led discussions that ended with a joint statement saying, “It is the call to the churches of both countries to offer a word of hope in response to the anxiety and fear in both countries.”
The groups also agreed to work for the lifting of the 53-year-old embargo against Cuba. Leaders described the embargo as “the major obstacle to the resolution of differences, to economic interaction, and to fuller engagement of our peoples and churches.” more >>